Tag Archives: crime

I Got a Windows Support Call

It happened. It finally happened. Someone with a south Asian accent, named John called me from “Microsoft Headquarters” and told me that my computer had some problems on it. I was actually excited at this point. I asked him to specify which computer it was. He asked if they were on a network, and I said one was at the moment. He had me go to it and asked me if it was running slow or freezing. I told him it was fine. And then he asked me to locate the Windows key and click it and R together. This is where it gets fun.

He said, “R as in Romeo.” That’s my sister’s dog’s name. I told him, “Oh, Romeo?” He answered, “Yes, Romeo. Do you see the Run window?” I answered, “No, I see Juliet.” He then repeats, “No, is there a Run window?” I just played dumb, saying, “Rambo?” He said, “No, Run!” But I responded, “I see Sylvester Stallone.” At this point, I was just giving random answers.

The last answer I gave to him was, “I see a monkey.” And his response? “You are the monkey.” I was ready to laugh at him. I then said, “Okay, I know this is a scam. But thanks for calling. It was fun.” He hung up after that.

After a quick search, I read that if I let this go on longer, he’d have me download a file, which would probably install malware or spyware or something. But one guy said that he told the scammer that his anti-virus kept deleting the files. The scammer asked him to go to Wal-Mart and send a Moneygram to someone in Bangladesh to buy software that would fix the “problem.” You can read the entire story here, as well as some other experiences.

I should mention that they called twice today, two hours apart. The first time, the guy hung up when I said, “Excuse me?”

For anyone who gets a call from Microsoft, it’s not Microsoft. They won’t call customers about viruses or problems.

If they call again, I’ll have to consider some other things to say:

  • I don’t have a computer.
  • I have a Mac.
  • I run Linux.
  • He has contact CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service), which is the Canadian version of the CIA.
  • He has contacted the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (my lack of Bengali skills may give this away as a lie).
  • He has contacted the Oval Office of the White House.
  • He has contacted Bill Gates.

Which do you think is best? And have you experienced this call before? Let me know in the comments below.

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Handling Rape in Fiction

Someone asked about how to handle rape in a writing group I’m a member of on Facebook. In particular, she was worried about legal issues when portraying a rape victim who happens to be a child. That is a very serious and heavy issue to write about. It was interesting reading the answers by various people.

Some people were outraged and asked her how she could even think about writing about child rape. She clarified that her book was about a woman who had been raped as a child and how she coped with it. It’s meant to also draw attention to the problems of human trafficking and how her government (the UK) was turning a blind eye toward child rape in certain ethnic groups. It is an issue in many places. Someone else pointed out that it’s a big problem in the US, as well, involving children being taken from Mexico into the US.

Other people provided some useful information. Basically, it’s fine to write about it, but don’t describe how it happened. That’s fine, because the author said she was writing about the aftermath, not about the actual event. Some who were rape victims themselves were supportive.

I’ve read books that involve child rape, including George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Although it’s a fantasy series, it’s similar to medieval Europe, where it was common for early teens to get married and start having children. It provides a degree of realism, rather than being politically correct.

I have a future fantasy series in which I will have a character who was a victim of rape as a teenager, and it looks at the response of both her family and society as a whole, as well as how she handles the attitude toward her. I don’t take this subject lightly. In my writing, I don’t take anything lightly. Although I am writing for entertainment, I also want to tackle important issues and make people think. I want people to be angry about various issues, or at least take them seriously. The treatment of women and children is a very serious issue, especially as a husband and father of a young child.

Authors often deal with very serious subjects. As an author or reader, how do you feel about rape being addressed in fiction? Not only rape, but also any kind of sexual abuse. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Flash Fiction #10 – Belittling Santa (Flash! Friday)

This week’s Flash! Friday is Christmas themed.  This is the second one of their third year, but it’s the first one I’ve participated in.  For this one, I actually used Google Maps to check that I was using real information for location.  However, the events are completely fictional.  Of course, it’s fictional.  This couldn’t really happen, could it?

So, here’s my entry:

Belittling Santa

“We bring you this breaking news tonight from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Is it an epidemic of home break-ins and robberies, or is it a prank? Brent Sabourin has the story. Brent?”

“Thank you, Debbie. Yes, here in the Mayfair area near the intersection of Thirty-Sixth Street West and Avenue C North, seven houses have been broken into. The items stolen? Christmas presents. Someone entered these homes sometime during the night and whisked away nearly ten thousand dollars’ worth of gifts. However, we may have a lead on this heinous crime. Barbara Jensen says she saw something very unusual.”

“I came out of the kitchen at about two this morning and saw someone with a bag standing in my fireplace. I couldn’t believe it! He looked just like Santa, but was only about four inches tall!”

He watched the television flicker as he listened to the news story. The little white-bearded man smiled. “That’s for belittling me, my dear brother.”

Let me know what you thought in the comments below.  Thanks for reading!

So Far from Canada, Yet Feel So Close

With everything that happened in the last few hours in Ottawa, I have never felt so close to Canada while being half a world away.  It’s strange.  I’ve been in Japan for nearly ten years, and for much of it, I felt a disconnect from my home country.  I’ve been living in Japan, I see what happens in Japan, and I feel a stronger connection to events in Japan.  However, this attack on Cpl. Nathan Cirillo by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau has brought my thoughts firmly back to Canada.

This has me angry.  The response I’ve seen from various people also makes me angry, as I feel a lot of it is misguided and potentially dangerous.  Some sources are connecting the shooter to ISIS and Canada’s announced involvement in the fight against them.  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has even linked this incident to terrorism.  Zehaf-Bibeau has a criminal record related to robbery and drugs, and has had his passport revoked because he is a travel risk.  However, the terrorism link is not confirmed, and people should not start pointing fingers until we know what the motives were.

What I’m angry about seeing is that many people are condemning Muslims in general. I know some Muslims, and they’re all wonderful people who would never think of doing anything like this.  In fact, they would condemn this act.  So before people start attacking innocent Muslims over this incident, remember that most of them are as dumbfounded and upset about it as you are.  They are not the enemy.  Reactionary attitudes like this are extremely harmful.  That is all I’m going to say about this.

And to those of you trying to politicise this whole incident and make it a Conservative versus Liberal thing, shut up.  A man died.  All sides of the government are in agreement in this situation.

One thing I love about Canada is the tolerance people have for other cultures.  Please don’t let this incident turn into an excuse to exercise intolerance.